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Gurren Lagann - Turn the Phase - 7 Conjecture

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By mjengels
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This is a work of fan fiction using characters and situations from the anime series Gurren Lagann, trademarked by Gainax Corporation.

For the most part, characters depicted in this work are characters created and owned by Kazuki Nakashima and Hiroyuki Imaishi. I do not claim any ownership over them or the world of Gurren Lagann. There are several original characters appearing of my own design, however.

The story I tell about the former members of the Gurren Brigade is my own invention, and is neither purported nor believed to be part of Gurren Lagann's story canon. This story is for entertainment only and is not part of the official story line.

I am not profiting financially from the creation and publication of this story. And I am very grateful to Messrs. Nakashima and Imaishi for sharing their wonderful story with the rest of us.  Thank you!

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SEVEN
Conjecture

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The pain in Simon's shoulder had settled down to a dull throbbing as he made his way through the neighborhood. Reaching his destination, he knocked at the door firmly knowing he was, after all, calling on them at an hour everyone might already be in bed. Simon figured he must be quite a sight.  He glanced down at his open palm after he ran it over his head, noting at least the bleeding had stopped.

Simon was about to knock again when the door flung open wide, revealing an empty living room inside the darkened house. "Hello?" he said as he gingerly stepped across the threshold.

He heard the switch click on as the lights came up, causing him to blink for an instant before the door slammed shut behind him. Simon caught a glimpse of something in his peripheral vision and turned. Looking barely six inches past his nose, he realized he was staring down barrel of a long rifle just as he heard a round rack up in the chamber. "Just who in the *hell* do you - Simon?!"

Simon smiled sheepishly as the barrel turned toward the floor. "H-hey, Kiyal. What do you think you're doing?"

The long canine tooth on the left side of her face stuck out over top of her bottom lip as she glared at him, appearing to Simon as if she were baring fangs. With her long dark hair tied up behind her head, she didn't look or act like the sweet "girl next door" Simon had known. But given the physiological changes he knew were due her, he wasn't surprised.

"What do I think *I'm* doing? What the hell do you think *you're* doing, moron?!" Kiyal screamed as she ported the rifle, looking completely ridiculous toting such a weapon around dressed in fuzzy pink pajamas with matching bunny slippers. "Would it have killed you to call first before showing up at this time of night?  L. T. is missing and I thought another intruder was here and - and - well, you scared us all half to death, you - you big - BWAAAAAAAAAH!"

Simon grabbed Kiyal's shoulders as she collapsed into his arms, bawling like a little girl waking up from night terrors. "Simon, dear," another voice said behind him, "I know you had no way of knowing but we've had a rough night.  It would have been polite to call before coming as we expected you hours ago.  I'm sure Dano is up now after Auntie Kiyal's outburst."

"What's going on, Kiyoh?  Where the hell is L. T.?"

"We don't know, Simon," she replied curtly, tying up the sash of her robe as she stormed through her bedroom door with her short blonde hair in curlers.

"He was sitting on the stoop out back watching the stars with Anne," Kiyal replied frantically.  "I was keeping an eye on 'im in case he tried something funny, though.  I musta dozed off, because then she came in here screaming someone kidnapped him!"

Kiyoh eyed Simon up and down icily.  "What the hell happened to you, Simon?  You look like you just came from a bar brawl."

"Yeah, well, this Viral's way of giving me a pep talk."

Kiyoh rolled her eyes and snorted derisively. "Boys will be boys, I guess. I'll bug you for details in the morning," she chastised him before plugging her nose. "Phew! Don't you even *think* about touching our sofa again until you get out of those clothes and take a shower, mister. Throw those clothes outside and maybe I'll wash them in the morning if you don't give me any more trouble. You smell like you and Viral were rolling around in a dumpster."

"Well, actually, that's painfully close to the truth," Simon as he rubbed the back of his neck.

Kiyoh waved her hand dismissively toward him, not wanted to hear any more of this right now.  From where she stood, she could see Dayakka and Anne coming in the back door.  "And you, Kiyal, give me that," she scolded her sister as she took the rifle. With one smooth motion she ejected the round from the chamber, caught it in mid-air and pulled the clip. After placing the rifle back in its mount above the fireplace and the clip on the mantle, she yawned loudly and began walking Kiyal back to her old room. "Silly girl! A woman in your condition shouldn't be jumping around the house like that."

"Yeah, Kiyal.  If your sister is any indication, in six or seven months you'll be so big you'll barely be able to walk much less jump. Good thing Attenborough is moving your bedroom downstairs next to the nursery at your new place."

Kiyoh slapped Dayakka across the back of his head for his insensitive attempt at levity as he came into the room huffing and puffing.  "Mind your manners, you big oaf.  If your legs ran like your mouth you'd have been able to chase down the creep who nabbed L. T.  Did you or Anne get a good look at him?"

"Not really, Mom, although I could see he was really tall and wore his hair in a long braid like L. T. does.  Dad and I chased after him for a while but we lost him," Anne replied, her lip quivering as tears began forming in her big blue eyes.

Kiyal excused herself to check on Dano, reporting a moment later the boy had somehow had managed to sleep through the entire episode with Boota curled up by his pillow.

"Dayakka," Simon began, tapping the side of his face with one finger as his brow knit in thought.  "I know this might not be a good time but I need you to get me back in to Central right away.   There's something I need to do that's kind of important."

Dayakka looked at him agape.  "But what about L. T.?"

"I think I know what happened.  I'll explain on the way.  If I'm right, then neither L. T. nor any of you are in any danger."

Dayakka looked quickly to Kiyoh, who nodded indicating her trust in Simon's intuition.  "There's nothing more you can do here anyway, D," she told him.  "And if anyone shows up here looking for trouble, well, we two Black Siblings will be glad to oblige, right sis?"

Kiyal nodded.  "Right!  Let 'em try any funny business!"

Dayakka took his wife in one arm and sister-in-law in the other, squeezing them tightly.  "Then let me get a security detail over here to start an investigation just to play it safe and we'll go.  Get yourself cleaned up in the meantime, Simon.  Kiyoh, Kiyal, Anne - don't wait up for us."

==========

Tall Tree's pace slowed from a run to a brisk walk as he looked around, rejoicing in his good fortune to have made his way to the city park unnoticed.  He gently laid the young man slung over his shoulder down on the first park bench he came to and began slapping his face softly.

"Son!  Son, wake up!" he said as the boy began to stir.

All at once the young man's eyes opened wide as he began to look around frantically, trying to figure how he had arrived here.  "D-Dad?"

The older man reached out and smiled warmly as he clasped his son's shoulder firmly in greeting.  "It has been some time, Leaning Tree."

Anger flashed across the young man's face as he bolted upright. "*Daaaaaaaad*, have you lost your mind?  Anne and her parents are going to freak out!  They'll think for sure you kidnapped me, you know.  Her dad is a general is the militia, remember?  For all we know snipers are taking up positions around us even now!"

Tall Tree raised both hands to his side, imploring his son to listen to him.  "Simon must not be working you hard enough. You obviously have way too much free time to watch the satellite feeds," he chuckled softly. "I'm quite sure the young lady and her father both saw me close enough to report to Simon what they saw.  He will tell them they needn't worry."

"Well, your timing sucks just the same," Leaning Tree pouted.  

"I wouldn't be so sure about that," his father tutted in reply.  "That girl is a few years younger than you, and, as you say, the daughter of a general.  Those snipers you're worried about would be targeting *you* I'm sure if he thought you had sullied her purity."

"As if anything would have happened with that crazy snaggletooth auntie of hers hovering over us," Leaning Tree whined.  "She was baring her fangs at me like a mother wolf every chance she had."

Leaning Tree rubbed at the base of his neck, knowing for sure he'd have a welt there by morning.  "So what's so damn important you had to knock me out with a neck pinch and run away like a foxbat flying off with a fresh mole piglet?"

"Movings of the Spirit are taking place even as we speak, young man."

Leaning Tree rolled his eyes.  "Oh, here we go again with the 'Ancient Ways' stuff."

"Enough!" said his father sternly.  "This is serious business.  Our friend Simon may well be in great peril."

"Huh?  Simon's a big boy, Dad.  I'm sure he can take care of himself."

The older man crossed his arms as he looked down at the ground.  "Yes, but he is unaware of what he's getting himself into."

Several moments of silence passed as the two of them looked skyward towards a full moon bright enough to cast a faint glow on everything around.  Leaning Tree's mind raced, concerned for his friend and mentor.  His family for generations had been skilled in working at heights, which ideally suited them to work like erecting solar beam collectors and concentrators.  But he himself had experienced terrible vertigo while working the high steel, requiring him to be assigned "ground pounder" jobs.  The boring and mundane work had given his active and creative mind time to conjure up all kinds of mischievous ideas.  The night he had snuck onto Simon's rig to torch the diamond tips off his drill heads had been the last straw for his father.  Who knew what would have become of him if Simon had not agreed to take him in as his apprentice?

"You saw her, didn't you?" the older man said at last.

"'Saw her' *who*, Dad?"

"You were with Simon when he saw her likeness against the setting sun.  And you saw her too, right?"

"Well, yeah, I did.  Why?"

"Then I was right to carry you away from your friends in the manner our Ways call for.  If you could see her form, then you are ready to fully manifest your Talent.  And not a moment too soon either, from what I've heard."

"What are you talking about, Dad?"

"From what I understood from the ancient text, Simon must sojourn into the spirit realm to accomplish his task."

Leaning Tree tapped the side of his face with one finger as he contemplated what his father had just said.  "So you believe he'll need a Guide, then?"

The older man nodded as he grunted his assent.

"But Dad, why wouldn't you do it?"

"Our Ways tell us that the Guides most suited to help one's spirit are those who were closest to them in this life.  Simon may be my friend, but he has been your mentor these last several years.  Even though I may be more practiced in my Talent than you are, I believe Simon's best chance for survival rests with you."

Leaning Tree stared silently at the ground as his father's words sank in.  

Tall Tree took out his cell phone and placed a call.  *If you're calling me at this time of night, then I'm certain it's very important,* came the reply.

"It would appear he intends to go through with it after all.  They should be moving forward shortly."

*WHAT?!  Are you certain?*

"Quite certain.  I was nearby the General's house after I, um...picked up my son.  I saw the two of them get into a truck and drive off.

*Give me an hour.  Please get into position in the meantime.  I'll call you back when I know whether I'll need you or not.*

"Understood.  I anticipate you shall, as the Movings are progressing just as your musty old book predicted," the older man replied as he ended the call.  "Come, Leaning Tree.  We have work to do."

His father cleared his throat to get Leaning Tree's attention.  The young man blinked as he came back to the present moment, having been lost in his own thoughts.  "But what about the rest of this year's work for the Beam Wranglers?" he said as he stood and began walking to where the older man's service truck was parked nearby.

"Oh, yes, thank you for reminding me."

Tall Tree dialed another number on his phone.  "TUG has bought us out of our contract for the rest of the year," he announced when he heard his foreman answer groggily.  "Tell everyone to pack up and head home as soon as they finish up whatever collector they're working on.  We will need all the help we can get making ready for winter before the Pass drifts shut again."

His father grunted as the fellow on the other end of the line acknowledged his instructions, then hung up.  "Get in," he said as the two of them reached the truck and pocketed his phone.  "I'll explain more as we drive."

The two men climbed into the service truck.  Tall Tree fired up the engine and began driving off, performing a U-turn just after a trio of military police units roared past in the other direction with flashers lit and sirens wailing.
This is the story of a man who had resigned himself to his Destiny. Using his talent to build things and mentor others, he lived a hardscrabble yet comfortingly familiar existence. However, Destiny had other plans for the man and his loved ones which none of them would fully comprehend. Destiny would assert Itself in his life once more, leaving no one untouched by its wake. A story by M. J. Engels.

EDIT 13 March 2015:  Enjoy some most excellent artwork by :iconredundantthoughts:  related to this chapter.   


Turn The Phase - Chapter 7 - Conjecture

Then go show Sid some love.  Thanks Sid!  MJE
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© 2013 - 2021 mjengels
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